Uproot your couch potatoes
April 01, 2018
When it comes to exercise excuses, “lack of time” is at the top of the list. But that's not only for adults – kids are often juggling busy schedules as well. That means you'll have to get creative to encourage your children to get and stay active. Sneak fitness into their days with “microbursts” of activity. Shorter sessions make it easier to get active and can help your kids get in the habit of moving all day. Kathryn Tegeder, MD, a UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Pediatrician at Medina Pediatrics, adds, “Research shows that these kinds of short bursts of exercise add up. That makes for stronger hearts, healthier bodies and all-around happier kids.”
Try these six simple ideas to uproot your coach potatoes:
1. Turn TV time into active time.
When your kids watch television, have them turn commercial breaks into activity breaks. They can do jumping jacks, squats, push-ups or sit-ups – whatever gets them moving. Better yet, do the same as a family when you're watching a show together.
2. Rev up the cleanup.
Messy house? No problem. Have your kids pick up and put things away as fast as they can (carefully, of course). Set a timer for five minutes and see how much they can get done during that time.
3. Ditch the car.
Instead of driving them, have your kids walk or bike to school at least one day a week. If your kids take the bus, suggest they walk or bike to a friend's house instead.
4. Create a new tradition.
In the evening, take a walk around the block as a family. “You'll be modeling the behavior you want your kids to embrace – and it's a great way to catch up with your kids,” Dr. Tegeder says.
5. Use the phone.
Older kids who have phones can stretch or do lunges or squats every time they get a text or phone call.
6. Try a Fitbit or other wearable fitness tracker.
“Simply wearing a tracker may encourage kids to accumulate more steps,” Dr. Tegeder says. “Have them shoot for 10,000 steps a day.”
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